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  • Writer's pictureNeil Hwang

The History of Valentines Day

Updated: Sep 11, 2023

February 14th is known and celebrated annually as Valentine's Day, or to be more specific, “Saint” Valentine's Day. The day represents love, where people exchange presents, flowers, candy, or cards. Some people question the past of the annual celebration. Nevertheless, there is no set or proven history behind Valentine's Day. There are many legends, but two are what historians actually believe to have a chance of being the real reason behind the day. Those legends are Geoffrey Chaucer, and The Legends of Two Valentines.

Geoffrey Chaucer was an early English poet. He wrote a poem in the late 14th century, which was named “Parliament of Fowls.” The poem was about a group of birds, which would gather on “saint valentine's day”, to choose their mates for the rest of the year. He was the first English writer to associate St Valentine, a Roman Martyr, with love. Martyrs were people who were killed due to their religious or other beliefs. Now, Chaucer had nothing to do with Martyrs, but made a poem about them, relating it to love, and opened the gates for Valentine’s Day. Or so the legend says.

The Legend of Two Valentines is more of a religious legend. Most of the Roman Martyrs were named Valentine. The first Valentine was a priest who was executed due to being “miraculous”. He was arrested during the Roman oppression of Christians. The first Valentine refused to abandon Christianity and was house arrested. The head of the house ordered Valentine to show the power of God. Eventually, the first Valentine was able to restore a blind girl's vision, which basically made the whole house turn christian. When the emperor heard this news, he ordered Valentine to be executed immediately. The second Valentine was named the “Bishop Valentine of Terni”, who was also a priest. He was known to be able to heal others, and a scholar told Valentine to heal his son. The Bishop Valentine of Terni was able to heal the son in a night's prayer, and turned the whole family into Christians. Soon, Valentine was arrested and was executed after refusing to convert to paganism. Pope Gelaisus made February 14th, the day both of the Valentines died, officially Valentines Day.

People should not only celebrate and remember Valentine's day as a holiday where chocolates and gifts are being spread, but they should also understand and respect the history behind this day.

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